In a sign that Blackwater is not planning on leaving Iraq anytime soon, on Thursday Blackwater posted a job opening for a "WPPS Regional Coordinator," a key management position for the controversial Worldwide Personal Protective Service II (WPPS II) contract with the Department of State. The position is responsible for staffing and equipping the contract and for supporting the in-country project manager. Although the administrative position is based at Blackwater's headquarters in Moyock, NC, given where Blackwater currently holds task orders under the WPPS, the responsibilities are almost certainly for the Iraq contracts.
The administrative position is responsible for proactively anticipating staffing changes, making sure the contract is fully staffed and all other contractor issues. According to the job announcement, that may include such issues such as pay, emergency leave, and arranging medevacs. However, we know from a memo from Majority Staff to the Members of the House Oversight Committee, that the job can get much more interesting than that. Blackwater experiences some rather unique personnel problems that the average HR professional doesn't exactly see every day, such as "inappropriately firing at Iraqis" and, my personal favorite, "proposing to sell weapons to the Iraqi government."
Regardless of whether the job of protecting diplomats in a war zone is done by Blackwater, another contractor or Diplomatic Security's own staff, they are all going to draw from the same personnel pool and they are all going to experience similar personnel problems. Let's face it, when you staff gunslinger jobs in a war zone, you have to pick from a rough crowd. What's important is how the incidents are handled and whether the bad behavior is tolerated because of pressure to keep the contracts fully staffed in order to avoid stiff financial penalties as stipulated in the contract. To be fair to Blackwater, they do have a demonstrated history of terminating staff for personnel problems under the WPPS II contract:
Weapons Related Incidents 28 Drugs and Alcohol Violations 25 Inappropriate/Lewd Conduct 16 Insubordination 11 Poor Performance 10 Aggressive/Violent Behavior 10 Rules Violations 8 Failure to Report an Incident/Lying 6 Publicly Embarrassing Blackwater 4 Security Clearance/Classification Issues 3 PTSD 1 Total 122
According to the aforementioned memo, over the contract period (approximately 2 years.) Blackwater has terminated the equivalent of one-seventh of its total current workforce in Iraq. (To make their math work, this is most likely referring to personnel category of personal security specialists only.)
Aside from the "Publicly Embarrassing Blackwater" category which probably is embarrassing Blackwater by now, this does seem to indicate that Blackwater management sets and enforces behavioral limits upon its staff. (Any manager will know how much it hurts to fire staff when faced with chronic personnel shortages, particularly when those staff are required to have security clearances.)
If you have a business degree and military background and you're still polishing that resumes, there is one caveat that should be taken very seriously given recent events: you must be capable of handling "a fast-paced and changing environment."
CYA experience a plus.